By Renée Biery

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Add-on’s, renovations, and new construction homes can seem intimidating to take on. How do you even get started? How do you find and manage contractors? What surprises should you anticipate coming up? How long do these things take?

In this podcast, you will learn all that and so much more!

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • The legal requirements of a GC

  • The roles typically played by a GC and Project Manager

  • Choosing the role that’s best for you

It is important to understand the difference between a GC(General Contractor) and a Project Manager. 

This is a question I’ve gotten a lot lately from designers listening, and I want to clear up exactly what a GC typically does and what a Project Manager does. 

The main differences are legal, such as licensing and insurance. Then there are also things to consider, which I also cover in today’s episode, such as what the roles typically mean on job sites and what they are typically focused on. 

So let’s start with a GC. A GC is the one who is in control of the day-to-day work on a project. Although some GCs do have design interests and will weigh in on decisions that need to be made along the way. 

GCs are traditionally used on larger projects when there are countless moving parts, pieces, and tradesmen to keep track of. And that doesn’t just mean new builds from the ground up. It can be a large addition or a renovation and addition. It depends on how your client hires for this project. 

GCs also have specific licensing, which varies from state to state and country to country. So it is very important if you are seeking out that job, if you want to become a GC, you MUST look at your local licensing requirements. And if you’re like me and live very close to another state, you should be looking at both states.

So then, what is the difference between a GC and Project Management? I manage the progression of a design from concept to fruition. A GC is truly not focused on the vision coming through the way it was intended. He is truly following drawings that he was presented with the scope of work and finish schedules provided to him either by an architect or by an interior designer. 

An interior designer is going to be keeping everything else in mind. You have the workmen physically doing the work, you have the drawings that have dictated what the work will be, and then designers know the vision. You know if it’s coming together the way it was intended. You know if a pivot is needed or not needed when things are changing as they do day-to-day. 

Another question I often get is, “If there is a GC on the job site, why would the client need an interior designer as well?” 

Designers come at their projects with a creative perspective, whereas a GC is focused on the physical work that is taking place to bring that design to life. 

In my experience, GCs love having designers on the job site assuming (and this is a big assumption!)  that they know what they’re doing. And this is why:

The GCs that I work with love what they do. They love managing the work to bring designs to life. Here’s what I know my GCs don’t enjoy: client interaction. That’s not why they got into their business. And designers can easily take on this role. It’s what we do best. We work with homeowners. We understand expectation setting. We understand emotions. We know how to manage a client, and we can do it in our sleep. Every job I work on that is large enough to have a GC inevitably pushes all client interaction that they can onto my plate. 

So, where do you go after listening to this episode? 

I want designers to do whatever they are most comfortable doing and what their personal goals are. If your goal is to become a GC, go for it! 

Reach out and let me know what the process is like for you, how you are going to tackle it and why you want to take this on. 

As always, you can reach me at or DM me on Instagram @devignierdesign if you have any questions or topics you’d like me to cover in future episodes.

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